Minor, minor comments on “The Grand Design”

A Brief History of Time

Image by bazylek100 via Flickr

[Note : It’s unfair to base your opinion on what we say here, so please try to get more information, or better yet read the book itself (and tell us how wrong we were).  So sorry, this may be one of the least positive e-mails we’ve written, just felt it was something we needed to bring to your attention… Thanks for all the concern after the Christchurch earthquake, Your Loyal Batchmate / Schoolmate / Kabayan is safe and sound, for now.]
Dear kabatch, kabayan and friends :
JUDGING FROM the 30,000+ comments / responses on the Yahoo! Buzz item (reviewing The Grand Design) that were generated, within 1-2 hours after the fact, the topic is at the very least provocative-cum-interesting.
Nevertheless, we still need to sound the Homer-alert here : we consider ourselves laughably unqualified to make any kind of intelligent comment about Prof. Stephen Hawking‘s new findings in his recently published volume.
Well, maybe not findings, but at least conclusions.  In so many words, his inescapable (to him) deductions about Reality (not just the Universe) are that, in no order of importance :
(1) The role of a creator is redundant to his view on the Universe’s origin; and (2) It is not necessary to invoke God when figuring out the nature of Reality.
A simpler way to say it : it took millions and millions of years, but the Creation of the galaxy, solar system, Earth, and eventually life as we know it happened by itself.  No Act of God, no Intelligent Design, and creation of Man in His Own Image ( whose, then ? ).
We’re obviously not doctorate holders, articulate in juggling many-layered and multi-dimensional theories or concepts, or even DIY-ready with gadgets and wondrous devices .  But we do see the dilemma here for even the most casual observer of existence and existing.
Which is harder to believe : that God was and is responsible for who, what and how we are, or, seen through the benefit of ultra-ultra fast motion (an eon a second), our electrons, protons and neutrons assembled themselves into molecules that randomly bonded into compounds that formed building blocks of celestial bodies, biological slime and later, Life as we know it?
This is why, just to be on the safe side, we still attend Filipino Community Mass with bibingka, pandesal and dinuguan available for good measure afterwards.
               **               **               **               **               **
Hope you don’t misunderstand, we didn’t mean for the humor to be gratuitous and the remarks to be facetious.  But, given a choice between coming from a Higher Being and evolving from scattered cosmic dust, which scenario seems more palatable to you and me ?
The irony is that around the time of the release of his previous works , A Brief History of Time (and A Briefer History of Time), Prof Hawking could not help but point to a Higher Power in the workings of the known and unknown Universe.
The element that tipped that balance in favor of a decidedly atheist view?  According to one of the most powerful minds of our generation, the inescapable law of gravity guides all the forces towards cohesion, attraction and eventually, creation.
As the publication date, much less the date by which the book is available across seas and oceans, wasn’t till last week, we won’t pretend to have read his newest work, but it doesn’t take more than a reviewer’s summary to produce a particular dread from the central philosophy that emerged :
Is there a thought more abonimable than the realization that, after living on this earth for 8 or at most, 9 decades, you have the prospect of nothingness afterwards?
Actually, less than nothing, because the latter presupposes at least the absence of something, whereas what we’re contemplating is a state where you never were; that you not only not exist, but never did, except in the memories of those you left behind.
At the very least, how does this thought affect those who have little to live for and who long for a change of fortunes in what they fervently believe is an Afterlife?
Even the sinner’s belief that his worldly deeds will lead him to Heaven or Hell seems to be infinitely better than the empirical finding that after our lives here, nothing awaits us.
To reiterate a pretty blunt idea , it would be as if we never existed. 
Extending the premise, if there is no God, would it be far-fetched to say that we are but animate soulless creatures without anything to live for after our natural life-span?
I don’t know about you, but that thought is a pretty hard one to swallow.
Sorry for such a bleak, bleak assessment, but the implications are pretty obvious.  Whether or not we subscribe to any of the religions, faiths or philosophies in this world, perhaps the greatest asset we have to fuel our energies and dreams is the hope that there is more than what we have in this plane of existence.
Take that away, and what do we have?
Thanks for reading !

2 thoughts on “Minor, minor comments on “The Grand Design”

  1. In “The Grand Design” Stephen Hawking postulates that the M-theory may be the Holy Grail of physics…the Grand Unified Theory which Einstein had tried to formulate and later abandoned. It expands on quantum mechanics and string theories.

    In my e-book on comparative mysticism is a quote by Albert Einstein: “…most beautiful and profound emotion we can experience is the sensation of the mystical. It is the sower of all true science. To know that what is impenetrable to us really exists, manifesting itself as the highest wisdom and most radiant beauty – which our dull faculties can comprehend only in their primitive form – this knowledge, this feeling, is at the center of all religion.”

    Einstein’s Special Theory of Relativity is probably the best known scientific equation. I revised it to help better understand the relationship between divine Essence (Spirit), matter (mass/energy: visible/dark) and consciousness (fx raised to its greatest power). Unlike the speed of light, which is a constant, there are no exact measurements for consciousness. In this hypothetical formula, basic consciousness may be of insects, to the second power of animals and to the third power the rational mind of humans. The fourth power is suprarational consciousness of mystics, when they intuit the divine essence in perceived matter. This was a convenient analogy, but there cannot be a divine formula.

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